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Community Impact Program Student Writes For Local Newspaper

Community Impact Program student Lauren Navarro wrote an article highlighting the program and how it can benefit other members of her community. This article was originally published in The Record-Reporter (Council, Idaho) on February 23, 2022.

Lauren Navarro, Katie Morgan and Serena Henry
Lauren Navarro, Katie Morgan and Serena Henry; students from the McCall region in the Community Impact Program. Photo by Ellie Navarro.

Boise State University Scholarships For Rural Students

By Lauren Navarro

So, I have been wanting to go back to school for some time to finish my education and get a bachelor’s degree, but living two hours away from Boise State University has made this goal unrealistic. However, with COVID buzzing around and a lot of quarantine time, a lot more classes have been available online, so last year, I decided to investigate for any new options. I found that Boise State has been developing their online degree programs and I was able to get accepted into the Bachelor of Public Health program through this online program.

Shortly after I was accepted, I met Brian O’Rorke. He is a part of the Community Impact Program (CIP) and he invited me to be a part of the group. This CIP outreach group is interested in helping residents in rural areas of Idaho and promoting more community involvement in their hand-selected students.

This is when going to school changed for me. Learning online takes diligence and self-discipline. I am very independent and I usually like to do things alone, but being a part of this program has allowed me to meet other Boise State students in my area, and I have to say, that has been very rewarding! We are a small group of about ten students, but we share a couple of online classes together and we meet three times during the year, so we get to know each other. We are all different – from our ages (18-50+) to our families, lifestyles, goals, and what kind of apps we keep on our phones.

I am able to attend college from my home in Council and because I am a part of this program, I will receive a Community Impact Certificate. Did I mention that it comes with a scholarship? For my full-time course load of 12 credits per semester, the scholarship covers half of my tuition for fall, spring, and summer sessions.

So I am writing this article in hopes of helping anyone in our area that could use a little help getting to school. I talked with a few of the coordinators of CIP to find out if there is anything they want us to know. Sean Hunter, Director of Community-based Educational Outreach Program says, “This is a starting point.” We want them to be able to “stay in the community of their choice and get their education.”

“We want to ‘hold open the door’ for Idaho residents in rural areas,” says Rebecca Morgan, strategic partnerships manager for Boise State University Community Partners. It is Boise State’s goal for this program to “give you the support, whether it’s financial or whatever it is, to continue to live and work and do business” in your hometown.

They are currently selecting students for Fall 2022 who live in the McCall (and surrounding areas), Payette (and surrounding areas), and Mountain Home (and surrounding areas). The program is new and just started two years ago. Last year they accepted ten students from each area, but the program has been successful and they have just increased enrollment.

The three main requirements are (1) you need to be enrolled in the Boise State University Online School, (2) you must live in a rural area of Idaho and be attending online from that area, and (3) be willing to commit to one year of school – including fall, spring, and summer. There are also a few required courses that you have to take during the year. These are classes intended to help you become a better employee or entrepreneur and to help you become more involved in your community. You are also asked to create something as a group that will help improve and make an impact in your community. Hence the name, Community Impact Program.
Right now, our groups are planning to bring more STEM/astronomy programs to our area with the help Boise State University & the Dark Sky NASA program, as well as incorporate a new emotional intelligence program for our youth.

This program has been so beneficial for me. I hope it can also help you or someone you know. The secret is to contact Brian. He’s the guy. I have worked with him several times this year and he always makes everything work! He is amazing!

“As a student support specialist for our awesome CIP program, I have the best job in the world! As the CIP students start their journey, I feel like I am starting a journey along with all of them, as we work together towards our goals,” Brian O’Rorke, Outreach Coordinator.

If you are interested or “if you know anyone in your community that you feel would be a good fit for CIP, please send them my way for a chat!” Brian O’Rorke at or (208) 933-2305 or you can visit these Boise State University’s websites:,, and